- The Washington Times - Saturday, April 14, 2001

Debriefing of the Middle Kingdoms intemperate acts

It seems that we are in an abusive relationship with China: They do something wrong, and we (the United States) say we are sorry for what happened. How about the fact that the Chinese pilot almost caused us to loose 21 men and three women. Are they sorry for this?

They steal nuclear secrets, buy our technology and are now gutting the U.S. plane for reverse engineering. The plane that ran into our plane was upgraded and sold these upgrades (weapons and guidance) by American defense contractors.

The Chinese are using the money from their trade with us to fund their nasty plans. They have demonstrated their contempt of the United States in numerous ways, and now we are paying for the very guns, bullets and nukes that they want to use against us.

Let´s take away their guns, bullets and nukes and tell them in no uncertain terms that we won´t let them play their dangerous game.

How do we do that? Shut down Red China´s economic machine. Stop letting them use our own dollars against us.

To paraphrase Lenin, "The last capitalist will hang with the rope they sold." We have to stop selling the rope.


Chesapeake, Va.

It is time for Americans to boycott products made in China. The downing of our EP-3E surveillance plane, detention of its crew and ensuing demands for an apology make this abundantly clear.

Consider the following analogy. You would not shop at a store if you knew the owners of the store hated you. You would not shop at a store if you knew the owners of the store were burglarizing your house. You would not shop at a store if you knew the owners tortured and killed its employees. You would not shop at a store if the owners were saying vile things about you. You would not shop at a store if you knew the owners might lock you in a closet in a fit of pique.

So why is America doing business with China? We have an $80 billion trade deficit with China. China should be tremendously grateful. Instead, we get belligerence and hostility from them. It is stupid of them as businessmen to treat us badly, and it is even more stupid of us as customers to keep shopping at the store that is China.

Boycott products made in China.



The behavior of certain elements of the People´s Liberation Army during and since the accidental collision of one of their fighter aircraft and our EP-3E patrol plane has disgraced China in the eyes of the world.

First, they told a ridiculous tale claiming that the EP-3E deliberately maneuvered into the Chinese F-8 in order to knock it down. If the late, lamented Chinese pilot was so poorly trained or lacking in alertness that he could not see a flying truck such as the EP-3E attempting such a thing, he had no business sitting in the cockpit of a combat aircraft. If the F-8 is so clumsy and unresponsive that it could not skip away from such a move, the People´s Liberation Army ought to ground every one of them immediately.

It is obvious that the F-8 was flying too closely to the EP-3E, and the only likely scenarios are that a) the pilot was careless and made a mistake with the controls, b) a gust of clear-air turbulence flipped the lighter F-8 into the EP-3E, or c) interaction between the wing or propeller vortices of the two aircraft pulled them together. In any case, the aviation wing of the People´s Liberation Army needs a thorough review of formation flight safety and pilot discipline.

Second, the PLA illegally detained the badly damaged EP-3E and its crew after they made an emergency landing on Hainan Island. There is no debate that international law requires all nations to permit disabled aircraft safe landing and to provide assistance to the same. The Chinese government´s claim that the EP-3E landed illegally is an absurd display of ignorance of proper behavior between civilized nations. The extortion of "exit visa fees" from the crew was also an injustice and further diminishes China in the eyes of the world.

Third, it is obvious that the People´s Liberation Army or related intelligence personnel have illegally boarded the EP-3E and stolen equipment from it. There can be no other purpose for the line of trucks that was observed near it. Under international law, the EP-3E remains our property. It was and is the obligation of the government to protect it from looters and vandals until representatives of the United States are able to remove it from Chinese territory or otherwise dispose of it.

Fourth, the childish attempt to use the detention of the EP-3E´s crew to extort an apology from us, the injured party in this sorry affair, was hardly befitting a nation that takes pride in its claims to be the world´s oldest continuous civilization. We must ask ourselves if China is mature enough to belong to the community of nations, or if it must become an international pariah, classed with terrorist savages such as Iraq or North Korea.

As long as the government of China tolerates this misbehavior from its military, it associates itself with this disgraceful behavior and demonstrates that it has little interest in maintaining "friendly, good-neighborly relations" with the rest of the world. At this point, the only way it can erase this shame is to apologize to the people of the United States, make monetary reparations for the damage done to the EP-3E and return all pieces removed from it. Until then, I will not buy anything made in China since I cannot trust the Chinese enough to believe that I will get an honest trade.


Mankato, Minn.

Should the People´s Republic of China ever again attempt to extort an unwarranted apology from this country, I suggest the following as an ideal response. Saying that we are "Double-Plus-Sorry" should sound sufficiently contrite to China´s enlightened leadership, while concurrently affording the reasonably literate among us some measure of covert satisfaction. I may be wrong, of course, but something tells me that George Orwell has never made the People´s Daily best-seller list.


Sterling, Va.

Language played a crucial role in the spy plane standoff between America and China, as evidenced by the deadlock over the Chinese demand for an apology and the U.S. refusal to do so. I am glad that the Chinese have come to their good sense and finally accepted "very sorry" as a substitute for a formal apology. In the Chinese context, very sorry has the connotation of an apology of some sort; it certainly does not denote a full apology. Fortunately, this linguistic ambiguity provided a way out for both sides, with Beijing claiming a "victory" and Washington insisting that it did not apologize.

Nevertheless, in the entire episode the Chinese clearly took advantage of Americans´ imperfect command of the Chinese language to heap scorn and insults on President Bush. A case in point is missing Chinese pilot Wang Wei´s wife, Ms. Ruan´s letter to President Bush. She accused Mr. Bush of being "too cowardly to voice an apology." I just couldn´t believe it when I first heard it. To say the least, it was extremely insulting to call the U.S. president "cowardly." I was skeptical that she really used such strong language in her letter. After checking the English translation against the original Chinese text, both released by the official Xinhua news agency, I found my suspicion well grounded. In fact, the Chinese text uses the expression "lin se," which means literally "stingy" or "miserly." It can also be rendered as "ungenerous." Each one of the three words would be a far cry from "cowardly." The correct, though not very idiomatic, translation should be: "You are too stingy to offer an apology."

The erroneous translation puzzled me. Was it a deliberate attempt to scold and humiliate Mr. Bush? Could it be just an unfortunate choice of words? Well, "lin se" is a rather common Chinese saying, and its English equivalent is readily available. A famous Chinese translator a century ago set three cardinal criteria for translating foreign texts into Chinese: faithfulness, clarity and elegance. The first and foremost consideration is faithfulness in the event that the other two standards are hard to meet. By simply saying "very sorry," the United States has shown faith in and faithfulness to the English language. More important, the United States has been faithful to the principled stance that it has done nothing wrong.


Bureau chief

The China Times


"Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends." John 15:13

Answered prayers. Thank God that, in this instance, our sailors, airman and Marine were spared the ultimate price of friendship, freedom and love.

Thank God that cool heads prevailed those of our young commander in chief and the Bush team. It is apropos that our 24 military volunteers arrived home by Good Friday in time to truly celebrate the miracle that is Easter.

Semper Fidelis.


Lt. Col., U.S. Marine Corps (retired)

Laguna Woods, Calf.

Sign up for Daily Newsletters

Manage Newsletters

Copyright © 2020 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.

Please read our comment policy before commenting.


Click to Read More and View Comments

Click to Hide